The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Sonia sings, son faces the music
Mataram strikeback

New Delhi, Dec. 28: Sonia Gandhi finally sang to the BJP’s tune but the rendition need not be music to her rivals’ ears.

Sonia today joined a Seva Dal chorus to sing Vande Mataram for the first time since she began her political career, replying in kind to the BJP’s refrain that she has been “deliberately” steering clear of the national song.

In September, the BJP had slammed Sonia for keeping away from an event at the Congress headquarters to mark the “centenary” of the adoption of Vande Mataram as the national song.

The Opposition party virtually challenged her to prove her “nationalist” credentials by singing the song. The Congress’s explanation was Sonia was unwell and could not attend the show organised by the Seva Dal.

Today, as the Congress observed its 125th foundation day at 24 Akbar Road, a choir of the Seva Dal flagged off the celebration by singing Vande Mataram. Not only was Sonia present, she joined the chorus.

In the process, the Congress president picked up the gauntlet thrown by the BJP and sought to set right other perceived “omissions and commissions” committed by her party on Vande Mataram.

First, the UPA government got the date of the “centenary” wrong. Vande Mataram was adopted as the national song in 1905 and the centenary should have been marked in 2005. The Congress officially admitted that the government had erred.

Second, human resource development minister Arjun Singh, keen to reinforce his secular credentials, reportedly issued a directive that singing of the song was optional.

Sonia’s presence drew the entire Congress brass to this morning’s event.

But one face was missing: Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit reportedly arrived late — in fact, after the Prime Minister reached. Protocol norms then prevented her from entering the venue.

Email This Page